Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Poster Session #251
Sunday, May 30, 2021
1:00 PM–3:00 PM

Does Cannabidiol Share Discriminative-Stimulus Properties With the Benzodiazepine Anxiolytic Chlordiazepoxide?

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
REBECCA CHALMÉ (West Virginia University), Karen G. Anderson (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major centrally active phytocannabinoid components of cannabis, and has been approved by the FDA only for the treatment of two rare seizure disorders. However, CBD has been touted as a potential treatment for anxiety in place of more traditional pharmacological treatments like benzodiazepines. Although there is some evidence of anxiolytic effects of CBD, its suitability as a substitute for benzodiazepines is unknown. This experiment was designed to assess to what extent CBD shares interoceptive discriminative-stimulus properties with the anxiolytic chlordiazepoxide (CDP), a benzodiazepine. In the present experiment, a range of doses (0-333.3 mg/kg) of CBD were administered in rats trained to discriminate 5.6 mg/kg CDP from saline. Due to the long time-course effects of CBD, generalization tests were conducted at 90 and 120 min post-CBD administration. Results indicate that CBD likely does not substitute for CDP, as mean percent CDP-appropriate responding remained under 20% at most doses. Future areas of investigation, including lowering the CDP training dose, could provide additional clarity regarding the present results.

2. Oxycodone Impacts Sensitivity to Reinforcement Magnitude in Male and Female Rats: Implications for Impulsive/Risky Choice
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
JUSTIN T VAN HEUKELOM (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Thomas Wagner (Louisiana State University), Isabelle R Rinkert (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Jeremy Langford (West Virginia University), Christine E. Hughes (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Raymond C. Pitts (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Acute administration of opioid agonists has been shown to increase impulsive choice. Behavioral mechanisms of this effect may include an increased sensitivity to delay and/or a decreased sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude. Furthermore, there is current interest in characterizing differences in drug effects on impulsive and risky choice between sexes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate acute effects of the prescription opioid oxycodone on sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude in male and female rats. Rats chose between different reinforcement magnitudes in a within-session, concurrent-chains procedure in which the magnitude for one option (i.e., 1, 3, and 9 dipper presentations of a sucrose solution) varied across blocks of choice trials, while the magnitude of the other option remained constant (i.e., 3 presentations). Baseline sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude tended to be higher in females (M=0.60; n=6) than in males (M=0.52; n=8). On average, oxycodone (0.3, 0.56, and 1.0 mg/kg) tended to decrease sensitivity to reinforcement magnitude in both males and females. Based upon these findings, we tentatively conclude that male rats would be more likely to engage in impulsive choice, and that oxycodone would likely induce impulsive choice in both male and female rats.

Neonatal Co-Exposure of Mice to Ultrafine Iron and Sulfur Dioxide Does Not Affect Response Inhibition or Reversal Learning in Adulthood

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
MATTHEW LELAND ECKARD (University of Rochester Medical Center), Alyssa Merrill (University of Rochester Medical Center), Katherine Bachmann (University of Rochester Medical Center), Elena Marvin (University of Rochester Medical Center), Günter Oberdörster (University of Rochester Medical Center), Marissa Sobolewski (University of Rochester Medical Center), Deborah Cory-Slechta (University of Rochester Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Air pollution (AP) is a growing threat to human health including its effect on neurological development and function. AP is a complex mixture of gases and particulate matter, including trace elements, which may differentially contribute to its neurodevelopmental toxicity. In our lab, brains of neonate mice exposed to concentrated ambient ultrafine particulate matter showed brain accumulation of iron (Fe) and sulfur (S). To determine the neurodevelopmental impact of Fe and S specifically, male and female neonate mice were exposed to air or an aerosol mixture of ultrafine Fe and sulfur dioxide (n=12). Inhalation exposures occurred from postnatal day (PND) 4-7 and 10-13 for 4 hr/day. Following training on a fixed-interval schedule in adulthood, mice were trained on successive differential-reinforcement-of-low-rates schedules (10 - 36 s) followed by a discrimination reversal task. Peak deviation analysis of DRL responding showed relatively inaccurate timing in all groups across DRLs and no differences in within-bout response IRTs or overall reinforcers earned. Similarly, across three discrimination reversals, overall errors decreased, but there were no group differences in error patterns or response latencies. Thus, Fe and S in combination at the current dose may not recapitulate the behavioral impairments associated with developmental AP exposure.

4. Economic Demand and Cross-Price Elasticity of Cocaine and Social Reinforcement
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
MARK A. SMITH (Davidson College), Jessica Sharp (Davidson College), Hannah Cha (Davidson College), Justin Charles Strickland (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Aim: Drug addiction is characterized, in part, by the pathological choice of drugs over other reinforcers. This study used a behavioral economic approach to examine demand and cross-price elasticity of cocaine and social contact with a cocaine-free and cocaine-intoxicated partner under concurrent-access conditions. Methods: Male rats responded under a concurrent schedule of reinforcement in which the two reinforcers were cocaine (0.5 mg/kg, iv) and 30-s access to a social partner. The availability of each reinforcer was independent of the other. Social access was evaluated with a social partner that was cocaine-free and cocaine-intoxicated (10 mg/kg, ip). The ratio value (i.e., unit price) of both reinforcers varied across sessions, and economic analyses determined demand intensity and elasticity of each reinforcer under conditions in which the alternative was or was not concurrently available. Cross-price elasticity was determined by the slope of consumption for the concurrently available, fixed-price reinforcer. Results: Concurrent social access to a cocaine-free or cocaine-intoxicated partner did not reduce cocaine demand intensity or elasticity. Concurrent cocaine access decreased social demand intensity and increased social demand elasticity for a cocaine-free partner; however, this effect was not observed with a cocaine-intoxicated partner. Cross-price elasticities indicated a weak positive slope for each reinforcer with the exception of cocaine-free social access. Conclusion: Cross-reinforcer demand procedures suggest that social contact can serve as a weak substitute for cocaine, whereas access to cocaine can serve as a strong substitute for social contact, especially if the social partner is not cocaine intoxicated.

Uncertain Drug Cost as a Historical Factor Contributing to Drug vs. Nondrug Choice in Rhesus Monkeys

Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
William Doyle (Program in Neuroscience; University of Mississippi Medical Center), Carlos Zamarripa (Program in Neuroscience; University of Mississippi Medical Center), Kevin B. Freeman (University of Mississippi Medical Center), James K. Rowlett (University of Mississippi Medical Center), SALLY L. HUSKINSON (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)

Relative to nondrug reinforcers, illicit drugs may be more uncertain in terms of their availability, quality, and in the time and effort required to obtain them. In drug vs. nondrug choice, we have shown that a variable-ratio (VR) schedule of cocaine delivery increased cocaine’s potency as a reinforcer compared with an equal on average fixed-ratio (FR) schedule of cocaine delivery. However, it is unknown whether an history of chronic exposure to uncertain drug cost results in subsequent changes in the reinforcing properties of cocaine. Adult rhesus monkeys chose between cocaine (0-0.1 mg/kg/injection) and food (2 pellets/delivery) under concurrent FR FR schedules to establish baseline drug vs. nondrug choice functions. Subjects were then exposed to 60 days of cocaine availability (0.1 mg/kg/injection) under an FR 200 (fixed history) or VR 200 (uncertain history) schedule of reinforcement, followed by redetermination of cocaine vs. food choice functions. Then, subjects first exposed to the FR schedule experienced the VR schedule, and vice versa, followed by a final determination of cocaine vs. food choice. Thus far, cocaine choice is reduced or unchanged following a fixed history with cocaine and is increased following an uncertain history with cocaine. If replicated with additional subjects, these results suggest that exposure to uncertain drug costs could enhance the reinforcing properties of the drug compared with exposure to fixed drug costs.

Diversity submission 6. Assessing Demand for Cigarettes and Substitutes in African American/Black and White Smokers
Area: BPN; Domain: Basic Research
SYDNEY BATCHELDER (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Yohan Krumov (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Josie Newburg (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Ashley Haberman (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Devon Bigelow (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Wendy Donlin Washington (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Although smoking is on the decline in the United States, it still poses a challenge for certain minority populations including Black smokers. Black Americans who smoke cigarettes are more likely to be affected by smoking related illnesses than White Americans (Inoue-Chol et al., 2017; Lortet-Tieulent et al., 2016). And though Black Americans are more likely to report intentions to quit, they are less likely to successfully quit (Stahre et al., 2010). For these reasons, it is necessary to delineate what variables affect smoking in Black Americans. The present study used a cigarette purchase task (CPT) and the experimental tobacco marketplace (ETM) to evaluate whether Black and White smokers have similar demand for cigarettes and whether nicotine alternatives function similarly as substitutes. Participants were recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk to take measures including the Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Depedence, Everyday Discrimination Scale, intentions to quit, and Timeline Followback. Participants then took the CPT and ETM, which ask smokers how many cigarettes and alternatives they would consume at increasing prices. Race, menthol status, and socioeconomic status comparisons will be conducted. Implications for treatment including harm reduction and nicotine replacement therapy based on these findings will be discussed.
7. Abstinence-Contingent Wage Supplements to Promote Drug Abstinence and Employment: Post-Intervention Outcomes
Area: BPN; Domain: Applied Research
MATTHEW NOVAK (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), August F. Holtyn (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Forrest Toegel (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine), Kenneth Silverman (Johns Hopkins University)
Discussant: Sally L. Huskinson (University of Mississippi Medical Center)
Abstract: Given the interrelated nature of substance use, unemployment, and poverty, interventions designed to promote health and move low-income people out of poverty could lead to long-lasting treatment effects. This study assessed effects of abstinence-contingent wage supplements after discontinuation. Participants were randomly assigned to an abstinence-contingent wage supplement group (n = 44) or a usual care control group (n = 47). All participants could work with an employment specialist throughout the 12-month intervention period. Participants in the abstinence-contingent wage supplement group earned stipends for working with the employment specialist and, after gaining employment, abstinence-contingent wage supplements for working in their community job and providing opiate- and cocaine-negative urine samples. Assessments of drug use and employment were collected every 3 months during the 12-month intervention and the 12-month follow-up period. During the intervention, participants in the abstinence-contingent wage supplement group maintained higher levels of opiate and cocaine abstinence and were more likely to become employed and live out of poverty than control group participants. During the follow-up period, both groups had similar levels of drug abstinence, employment, and poverty status. Results will be discussed in terms of methods to promote long-term treatment maintenance.



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